Developing automated cell processing strategies with Olivier Waridel, GE

As previously the CEO of medical device company Biosafe and now GM of Cell Banking & Point of Care at GE Healthcare, Olivier Waridel understandably feels positive about the recent partnership between the two companies. For him, the collaboration broadens the possibilities for both companies, ultimately working towards a ‘full solution for players in the CAR-T and immunotherapy space’.

‘Automatising’ cell processing is one of the developments Waridel has worked on and is most proud of. Using the example of cord blood banking Waridel outlines the process development ‘all the way from a sample in a bag to the cyro-preservation tank…[we] developed the tools for the whole processing of that in the laboratory’.

Cord blood banking is just one such example, and Waridel goes on to explain his work in ‘the clinical trials going on in the regenerative medicine space where it is required to have a closed system and automation for orthopaedic, cardiovascular and other trials that are going on. Our instruments can automate the process in the operating room; getting the cells ready for the re-infusion into the patient.’

The cell therapy space is a natural progression for Biosafe, allowing them to build on their previous experience of automating the cell processing line. Waridel explains how they use the same technology they already employ, but are also introducing a new instrument, Sefia, which has been specifically developed for the cell therapy space. Sefia will assist them with ‘running through the different cell manipulations and will help with the delivery to the end patient’.

In terms of differentiating their product from similar instruments on the market, Waridel highlights that Biosafe’s is centrifugation based:

‘The beauty is the technology in itself, so it allows us to process volumes and the way the cells are centrifuged allows us to go into detail into which lap of cells we are collecting and offers a lot of flexibility.’

The technology also allows them to include customers within the process development, building increasingly fluid relationships. Waridel aims to increase ‘reliability and stability’, and therefore increase the number of patients they can treat.

Watch the full interview, filmed at Cell Therapy Manufacturing & Gene Therapy Congress, with Olivier Waridel above, or here.

Sourcing raw materials for cell therapy manufacture – Dieter Hauwaerts, Celyad

‘Start working on raw materials early on’ – for Dieter Hauwaerts, Vice President of Operations at Celyad, the way to combat one of the biggest challenges in cell therapy manufacture is clear.

Limited availability of raw materials is a major issue for large scale manufacture of new therapies, but planning well in advance can help mitigate it: ‘In process development, take into account the quantity and quality of raw materials you will need in a clinical stage or commercial manufacturing process and build good relationships with suppliers.’

However, even with the necessary raw materials, Hauwaerts still sees issues with ‘the way we can manufacture products in a reliable and consistent way’, though he hopes that in 2017 automation will begin to negate this.

Watch the full exclusive interview with Hauwaerts – filmed at Cell Therapy Manufacturing & Gene Therapy Congress 2016 – above or here.